A successful California aerospace engineer’s death is shining a light on potentially dangerous situations at unlicensed mental health facilities. The 26-year-old man was a star student in high school and college before launching his engineering career, but he began experiencing serious problems with mental illness which led to his hospitalization. He was released shortly thereafter to a facility touted as a residential mental health home but was not licensed to provide healthcare. Less than one day after his admission to the facility, he took his own life.
The man’s family are calling for improved regulation of these unlicensed facilities. They say that his death could have been prevented with greater regulation and control. At the time of the 911 call reporting the man’s suicide, the house manager filing the report was unable to identify the man’s name or age, was unable to perform CPR and had a general lack of training on how to deal with an emergency of this type. The man’s family say that managers at mental health facilities should be well-trained in both emergency response and suicide prevention.
During the call, the dispatcher spent 90 seconds repeatedly asking the manager to perform CPR on the man. As he was unable to do so, eventually another resident, a patient at the home, began to perform the procedure, but it was too late. His family also say that he was prescribed powerful medication, but the unlicensed home did not fill it until 26 hours later, making a mental health crisis far more likely.
Certain types of professions and facilities have a higher level of duty of care to their patients, residents and other recipients of services. When people die due to their negligence, loved ones may consult with an attorney about a wrongful death lawsuit to hold them accountable.